Maya Has a Strong Grip on the Prison Population

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By Mother Shyama Priya

Srila Prabhupada has described the material world as a prison house. There are many prison houses, the mind can be a prison house and so can one’s body, or a situation that one is in, but here we are talking about the prisons of the US, and the people who are in them. During this time of the year we all think of how to get more books distributed. Here are some nice testimonies of real people who have received Srila Prabhupada’s books and are benefiting. This is real freedom, receiving the knowledge of Krsna.

If you would like to help get more books into the the hands of hungry people, please contact shyamapriya@aol.com
Srila Prabhupada’s books give me ever new fresh nectar: Maya has a strong grip on the prison population —–, I try my best to stay focused on Shri Shri Radha Shyam., chanting the holy names really helps out; just from chanting I know I am getting purified. Through the mercy of Srila Prabhupada I was pulled o ut of bondage that I thought was life. Before reading the philosophy of Bhakti Yoga, I was most a fallen soul, a wisdom gang member, I used drugs and I practiced sex before marriage, then I found out that I was living with a veil over my face. Since I was given a mercy from devotees of IPM and Srila Prabhupada I have lived completely different life. Without books of Srila Prabhupada and seva of IPM volunteers I would still be a wandering soul. Now I have a mission to go Back home and bring as many souls with me as possible.

The glory of Srila Prabhupada’s book is immeasurable, “Chant and be Happy” was the first book of Srila Prabhupada I read in January 2004. Each time I read Srila Prabhupada’s books I relish ever new sweet nectar. I have learned the science of reincarnation and journey of the soul by reading Srila Prabhupada’s books. I no longer fear death because soul is eternal, and it tells us that nothing can kill the soul. Maya is everywhere and if we stay in her grips we will return in another life, to go through this sufferings of birth, death, old age and illness.

I have also learn through the literature of Srila Prabhupada the process of returning back home - Back to Godhead, Bhakti yoga is the best method. Devotion to Shri Shri Radha Krishna, chanting the glorious holy names and study of the Shastra’s are all great ways to start on the path of Krishna Consciousness. In order to liberate ourselves, however we must chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra. (Bobby Glover, Bowling Green, FL, he is practicing Krishna Consciousness very nicely in prison)

Srila Prabhupada’s books give knowledge and detachment: Prabhupada’s books and chanting of Hare Krishna Mahamantra has helped me on the path of self realization by realizing the method of being attached to the Supreme Being Krishna. Prabhupada has helped me to realize that principles of knowledge and detachment are two important factors on the path of this subtle transcendental path Back to Godhead.

I now understand through the great Acarya Srila Prabhupada, who teaches by example that as long as the soul doesn’t know the Supreme Being Krishna, it becomes attached to worldly pleasure and is bound, but when it knows Krishna, it is freed from all bondage. If we would maintain the identity of the Supreme Being Krishna all the time, we are never hurt by anything. When the Supreme Being Krishna is known bondage falls away. As we start meditating on this aspect of truth, we become free from all the things that bind us, whether it is pleasure or pain, attachment or aversion, you become totally free from it. (Donald Scott, Cumberland MD)
I wish I could have met Srila Prabhupada: I am chanting sixteen rounds daily now; I follow regulative principles given by Srila Prabhupada. As of May 11, 2008, I am back in general population and trying to spread Krishna Consciousness to other inmates whenever possible. I am trying for prison job to be able to buy Prabhupada’s books to fill the chapel library here. Even I am able to get less expensive books at least news of Krishna will be available here in this prison. I will do the best I can - that is my promise to IPM volunteers.

I really wish, I could have met personally Srila Prabhupada, feeling sad I missed on that opportunity. But the upside is I can associate with Srila Prabhupada every time I read his words in many books. When I read Srila Prabhupada’s books it is like a video playing images inside my head (like watching a movie). I am thinking Krishna was giving me a test of what “real separation” feels like between devotees and teachers.

These are some of my realizations: 1) God has many different names to all kinds of different people. My favorite name of God is Hare Krishna! An all attractive name for all attractive God. 2) When you want to commune with Lord Krishna, don’t look to the sky, instead you should close your eyes and allow yourself to travel inward to the heart. There you will find beloved Krishna ready to receive you. 3) I must put my trust, faith and love in Krishna and in service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead for He will never abandon you in either time of happiness or distress. Like when you walk on the sand of beach and there is only one set of footprints where once was two. This only shows that Krishna is the only one who carries you along the journey of life. (Kevin Cummings, Plymouth WI, he is preaching very nicely in prison and he is trying to set up library in the prison)

I found peace and joy in Krishna Consciousness: I was=2 0strung on different chemicals thinking it was the way to cope with life and it would bring peace and joy, but I found out that it only gave me peace and happiness on temporary level. The more I used the more I wanted, I was never satisfied. I tried booze, sleeping around, partying, doing risky behavior and other means, I found out that I was happy on the outside but deep down inside my inner soul something was missing; so I decided to try different religion but none brought me peace of mind or comfort until I came in contact with Hare Krishna movement and since then I have experienced true joy and peace.

I have a direction and purpose in my life, not only do I feel peace and happiness on the outside but I also feel peace and happiness on inside, this only Krishna Conscious movement has given me along with devotee association and reading of Srila Prabhupada’s books and chanting of Hare Krishna Mahamantra. I want to share the following poetry - I have found peace in Krishna:
· Even though I wake up each morning in a prison cell consisting of four walls and steel bars - I have found peace in Krishna.
· Even though I wake up each morning in a prison cell staring through steel bars - I have found peace in Krishna.
· Even though I go through trials and tribulations - I have found peace in Krishna.
· Krishna’s peace in the true and everlasting peace. (Bhakta Gordon Shaw, Salem Oregon, he is practicing Krishna Consciousness very nicely in prison).

Human life is meant for worshiping Krishna: I am reaching a higher spiritual platform as I have increased my chanting to two hours each day. The chanting relaxes me and allows me to express devotion to Krishna. I am very happy that I have found perfection of all religion. The essence and total foundation of all religion is to be found in Krishna Consciousness. Krishna Consciousness uplifts humanity and generates true peace for everyone that becomes a part of it.

Now I know that killing animals and eating meat is wrong and I believe that the teachings of Hare Krishna movement are the correct spiritual path. Love, kindness and compassion are natural consequences of loving Krishna. By reading Srila Prabhupada’s books I feel as if I am directly associating with him. By daily chanting and reading Krishna Conscious literature I gain the necessary strength to overcome any difficulty. A Krishna Conscious person is the enemy of no one because he / she is the true well wisher of everyone. I am unaffected by the negative energy that resides in a prison because I am practicing Krishna Consciousness in prison.

In addition I continue to read Bhagavad Gita and Srila Prabhupada’s books each day. As I reread Srila Prabhupada’s books, I discover many divine spiritual truths that I had not noticed before. I am very joyful and happy to be a member of the Krishna Conscious movement. Each day with Krishna gets better than the day before. I am very enthusiastic and very joyful to be a devoted servant of Lord Krishna. I know now who God really is, God is divine and the Supreme personality and His name is Krishna; and human life is meant for worshiping Krishna. We have to accept only those things favorable for Krishna and reject everything else.

Peace is the characteristic of a person who is devoted to the loving nature of Krishna. There can’t be peace in religion or philosophy which teaches that it is ok to eat meat. The Hare Krishna movement is the ultimate movement towards spiritual realization of human kind. As a follower of the Krishna Conscious movement, I am very happy and full of energy. I am in prison but, but I am joyful because I have a divine relationship with Krishna. (Robert Creech, Brunswick, NC, he is practicing Krishna Consciousness very nicely in prison)

One can become God conscious by chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra: I would love to have a copy of the Gita, I have read half of the Gita, and I feel like a half eaten meal taken away from a starving man. The Bhagavad Gita expands upon things of Islam and it even sheds light on things that my soul was always in agreement with ever since I was a little boy. The main thing captivating to me about Gita is its constant elaboration on loving God.

I strongly agree that Hare Krishna Mahamantra is the greatest method I have personally encountered when it comes to ingraining God on the fo refront of one’s conscious. I love to remember God at all times in all things I do say and think. What better way to become God Consciousness other than to chant His holy name? What better way to mold oneself into becoming a devoted servant of God other than to constantly chant His holy names? True there are many methods but as a Muslim whose heart is bias take my hat off in reverence to the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. As Srila Prabhupada said that one shows the first symptom of this in the urge to dance along with the chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. I took advice of IPM volunteer for chanting 30 to 45 minutes and this is the first symptom I received. Allahu Akbar!!! (God is the Greatest!!!).

I enjoy reading the words of Srila Prabhupada, he reminds me of my spiritual master Wallace D. Muhammed. Srila Prabhupada’s words are delightful in their teaching and more so in their actions, so please keep on sending me books of Srila Prabhupada. From reading the various books by Srila Prabhupada, I have come to see that Srila Prabhupada is only reiterating his purports from Bhagavad Gita with further expounding and emphasis, which is excellent when that call is all that matter - Back to Godhead. (Rico Shahid Sterling, Reidsville GA. He was preached to by one nice inmate Kevin Brown, and now Rico is practicing Krishna Consciousness very nicely in prison)

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